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United States v. Rogers Cartage Co.

United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit

July 27, 2015

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff
v.
ROGERS CARTAGE COMPANY, Defendant-Cross Claim Third/Party Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
MONSANTO COMPANY, et al., Defendants-Cross Claim Third/Party Defendants-Appellees

Argued January 6, 2014.

Page 855

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 856

Appeals from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois. No. 3:99-cv-00063-GPM-PMF -- G. Patrick Murphy, Judge.

For United States of America (12-3624, 13-3052), Plaintiff: David S. Gualtieri, Attorney, Department of Justice, Environment & Natural Resources Division, Washington, DC; J. Christopher Moore, Attorney, Office of The United States Attorney, Civil Division, Fairview Heights, IL.

For Rogers Cartage Company (12-3624, 13-3052), Defendant - Appellant: Ronald J. Eisenberg, Attorney, Robert Schultz, Attorney, Schultz & Associates Llp, Chesterfield, MO.

For Monsanto Company, Solutia Incorporated, Pharmacia Corporation (12-3624, 13-3052), Defendants - Appellees: Jane E. Fedder, Attorney, Joseph G. Nassif, Attorney, Husch Blackwell Llp, St. Louis, MO; Bernard J. Ysursa Sr., Attorney, Cook, Ysursa, Bartholomew, Brauer & Shevlin, Belleville, IL.

Before EASTERBROOK, WILLIAMS, and TINDER, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

Page 857

Tinder, Circuit Judge.

The villages of Sauget and Cahokia, Illinois, located along the east bank of the Mississippi River just south of East St. Louis, are home to a three-and-a half-mile storm water conveyance channel known as Dead Creek. The name is morbid, but fitting. For more than a century, the area has been dominated by industrial activity, and for much of that time, Dead Creek was the recipient of a broad array of waste materials, including polychlorinated biphenyls (" PCBs" ). Because of its extensive contamination, the creek became the center of a cleanup site designated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (" EPA" ) as Sauget Area 1. In 1999, the government sued several potentially responsible parties (" PRPs" ) regarding the cleanup of Sauget Area 1, and many of those PRPs brought contribution claims against one another. One PRP, Rogers Cartage Company, settled with the other PRPs, but later it sought contribution from them again via a third-party complaint in a separate action. After that third-party complaint was severed and transferred back to the EPA action, the district court dismissed it and imposed sanctions against Rogers Cartage based on the settlement agreement. Rogers

Page 858

Cartage appeals those decisions, and we affirm.

I. BACKGROUND

In 1999, the United States filed a complaint under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act of 1980 (" CERCLA" ), seeking to recover costs incurred by the EPA in removing hazardous substances from a site known as Sauget Area 1, which follows Dead Creek through the Villages of Sauget and Cahokia, Illinois, just south of East St. Louis. Monsanto Company and Solutia, Inc. were among the original defendants in the case. From the early 1900s until 1997, Monsanto operated chemical plants in Sauget, Illinois, and St. Louis, Missouri. During that time, Monsanto disposed of chemical waste from those plants, including PCBs and other hazardous substances, at waste disposal sites within Sauget Area 1. In 1997, Monsanto spun-off its chemical business to Solutia, and Solutia agreed to indemnify Monsanto against any environmental claims relating to that business.

Monsanto and Solutia filed a third-party complaint bringing several new parties into the action, including Rogers Cartage Company, which formerly operated two trucking depots near (but not within) Sauget Area 1, one in the Village of Sauget and one in the Village of Cahokia. Monsan-to and Solutia sought contribution from Rogers Cartage based on the allegation that Rogers Cartage washed its trucks at these two depots after hauling hazardous substances, releasing those substances into drainage systems that ultimately made their way into Dead Creek, thus contributing to the pollution of Sauget Area 1. The government subsequently amended its complaint to add Rogers Cartage as a defendant, and several other defendants brought cross-claims against Rogers Cartage based on the same theory.

In 2000, Monsanto merged with Pharmacia & Upjohn, Inc., creating the new entity Pharmacia Corporation. In 2001, Pharmacia was ...


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